Teen, tween market shows signs of stabilizing

Attention beauty brands looking to target today’s teens and tweens! The beauty youth market shows signs of stabilization. That’s according to a recent report by market research company the NPD Group, which found that teens’ and tweens’ regular use of beauty products stabilized in 2011, following evidence in 2009 that the youth beauty consumer was becoming less engaged in the beauty category overall.


Study results showed declines from 2007 to 2009 in the percentage of young consumers regularly using beauty products; however, according to the third installment of NPD’s “Insight into the Youth Beauty Market” report, there are some signs of improvement among both female tweens (8 to 12 years) and teens (13 to 17 years).


While the level of engagement in the category today does not appear to be back to prerecession (2007) levels, the types of products being used have remained consistent with 2009 levels. Lip moisturizers/balms, body moisturizers/lotions and mascara continue to be the top three regularly used products among teens; lip gloss, body washes/cleansers/gels and lip moisturizers/balms continue to be the top three beauty products regularly used among tweens today.


Meanwhile, a second study by research firm Mintel that also looked at the youth beauty market found that more than half (61%) of girls ages 9 to 11 years would like to wear more makeup than their parents allow. Mintel noted, however, that products geared toward this age group need to be subtle in appearance and highlight that ingredients are safe for young skin, while also playing on the popular books (e.g., “Twilight” and “Hunger Games”) and TV shows that tweens and teens enjoy.


Average monthly beauty spending estimates among tweens and teens showed moderate increases relative to 2009, another indication that things are improving for young consumers in these age groups, according to NPD.


The price of beauty products is important to both age groups, and “price consciousness” is the self image that female consumers in each age group identify with most often. According to NPD, teens appear to be even more concerned about price than tweens, with higher reported mentions of the statement “I am very cost-conscious when it comes to buying beauty products” describing them completely (42% versus 25%, respectively).


Few young beauty consumers report “paying full price” when purchasing beauty products, with two-thirds of teens and about 7-out-of-10 tweens indicating they “look for items that are on sale” (66% versus 73%, respectively). Although more teens (37%) report “paying full price” than tweens (25%), the percentage of teens reporting they “pay full price” has been consistently decreasing over time since 2007.

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